Last night Benjamin was looking for a debate.
Literally. As part of an assignment for school he needed to debate a topic: Should a 13-year-old be allowed to be dropped off at the mall with a bunch of friends. So I took the side that they should be and kind of forced him into taking the other side — that they shouldn’t.
We made our arguments. Me: kids have earned trust and are well-behaved, they will be in a crowd and will stay together, the teens will have cellphones and will be able to check in. Ben: the friends should get together at someone’s house instead, that a large group of buddies could cause trouble, that there are a lot of “strangers” around.
It made for a fun and lively dinner conversation plus I think our friendly debate had Benjamin on a roll. We went from a teen’s freedom to playing favorites.
As part of a school activity, Benjamin and his classmates were looking at various forms of literature, including magazines. He was looking through Time and came across an article that said parents have favorite children. And one of the points of the article was that the favorite child often is the one who is the only boy or girl in the family.
Everyone turned to look at Grace.
Favoritism is something every parent likely thinks about on a regular basis.
Because Grace is the middle child, we do go to extra efforts to make sure she gets her attention and due, just like the boys. When you are the oldest, you seem to get natural extra perks just because of age. And when you are the youngest, you seem to get extra attention just for being the baby of the family. But when you in the middle, it’s different.
And we want to avoid the whole “middle child syndrome” thing. Apparently, the boys think we are doing a good job with it!
The whole favoritism thing became the theme and joke of the night. When Lucas told me he was “in love with me” and I told him I loved him, too, Benjamin smiled and said, “Favorite.”
When Grace came home from a friend’s church event, and I told her she was kind to go to keep her friend company, Ben smiled and said, “Favorite.”
When Benjamin made his way into bed after everyone else had gone up quite a bit earlier, I said, “Who’s the favorite now?”